VALLEY CENTER — If Southeast would have known how significant the final 5 1/2 minutes of the third quarter would be in Saturday’s Valley Center tournament championship, maybe the Buffaloes would have approached it differently.
It was at the 5:35 mark when Reagan Oyugi tipped in a miss to get within four points of Blue Valley Northwest. To that moment, it had been a well-played, fast-paced game.
But BV Northwest took over and won 75-56.
“We went away from our basketball and having that consistency,” Southeast coach Melvin Herring said. “We’re really working hard on that consistency and bringing it every game. It happens the way it happens.”
BV Northwest, the defending Class 6A champion that has played in three straight 6A title games, improved to 9-1 while Southeast falls to 8-4.
The turning point came when BV Northwest’s Vince Fritz converted a three-point play to start a 16-2 run. The Huskies took a 56-38 lead at the end of the third.
Take away that period — BV Northwest outscored Southeast 20-6 —and it was a five-point difference between the teams.
“We wanted to take it to the basket a little more and not settle for stupid outside shots,” BV Northwest coach Ed Fritz said. “We got a little better doing it.”
BV Northwest senior Clay Custer, who scored 19 points, added: “They were trying to pressure us and get up inside of us. If we drive and make a couple baskets, that opens everything up for kickouts for threes.”
Southeast continued to drive the lane, too. The difference was the Buffaloes failed to make shots, hitting 3 of 13 in the third quarter and 5 of 20 in the fourth.
Much different than 15 of 25 first-half shooting.
BV Northwest ripped off an 8-0 run early in the first quarter and, behind four three-pointers, had a 19-8 lead midway through the period.
Southeast didn’t fold.
Jerrick Harding, who had 13 points, hit a three and EJ Garnes scored twice as part of a 7-0 run to get within 19-17. Oyugi got a steal and Elijah Payne made a nice pass to Octevious Loudermilk for a basket and the 30-28 lead with 3:20 to go in the first half.
“We got out of sync,” said Custer, who has made an oral commitment to Iowa State. “We weren’t guarding the way we usually guard. We needed to be a little more aggressive and play better defense in the second half. That was the difference in the end — we started to guard a little better.”
BV Northwest’s Ben Richardson scored a game-high 24 points, while Fritz had 15.
Southeast’s Jordan Murdock had 13 points and Oyugi had 11.
Olathe Northwest 54, Valley Center 43 — Valley Center’s early play in the third-place game was exactly what coach Jon Wetig wants to see.
“I thought we executed the game plan early on,” he said. “We wanted them to come out and match their intensity. I thought we did a good job of it. I thought we took care of the ball offensively, found good shots and defense. I thought we stood in there and played good defense.
Valley led 11-6 after one period, and after Olathe Northwest went on a 6-0 run to start the second period, battled back to take a 16-14 lead on a Caleb Claussen basket.
Olathe Northwest finished the half with a 6-0 run. Braden Janzen, who had 12 points, got Valley Center within 28-26 with 4:33 to go in the third, but Olathe Northwest then went on a 19-4 run and never lost its double-digit lead.
“We talk about playing with good effort and enthusiasm,” Wetig said. “I just felt like we came out of the second half a little flat and just never could rebound. When they pulled ahead a little bit, we didn’t respond. I think that was the difference.”
Olathe Northwest was led by Easton Koch’s 20 points, five rebounds, while Valley Center’s Jacob Brittain had 12 points, hitting 3 of 3 three-pointers. Valley Center’s Jason Barbour scored 11.
BV Northwest 75, W. Southeast 56
W. Southeast: Harding 13, Murdock 13, Oyugi 11, Payne 7, Garnes 8, Loudermilk 4.
BV Northwest: Custer 19, Fritz 15, Salach 4, Richardson 24, Harrison 4, Schoen 4, Kilty 2, Moses 3.
O. Northwest 54, Valley Center 43
Olathe Northwest: Selby 6, Funk 11, Kelly 5, Anctil 4, Koch 20, Ward 5, Harter 3.
Valley Center: Barbour 11, Janzen 12, Schrater 3, Brittain 12, Claussen 2, Lee 3.